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McDonald Tales - MT20 - 1887 Life With William and Charlotte
They named her Blaze
William McDonald was 23 on January 31, 1887
William’s parents, Jane and Daniel, knew that William had been visiting Levi Weston in town, and looking at his herd of Morgan horses. They had talked about it some, but as his birthday approached, their questions got more pointed. He finally shared with them that he felt it was about time that he got serious about acquiring some Morgan horses for his farm. They had a number of good horses for tasks that needed to be done, but, he reflected, he really wanted to have a quality saddle horse, and thought he might even like to breed a modest herd, perhaps even to sell in the future. He shared that he had been talking with Levi about it. He was confident that Levi was encouraging him to pursue the idea, if he really wanted to.
Jane asked William what the first step would be if he pursued that goal. William replied that Levi had a five-year-old bred mare that had already produced one fine colt. Levi had said he would be willing to sell her to William to get the process started. (Jane didn’t tell William, but she and Daniel had already talked to Levi, themselves, and knew that was the answer.) They discussed this a bit to see how strongly William was considering this project. He said it would be the first thing he really did, on his own, and yes, he really wanted to do it. With that level of commitment, Jane and Daniel said, “We agree you should do it.”
The rest of the story was that Jane and Daniel offered to buy the mare as a “birthday gift.” They told him how proud they were of what he and Charlotte had accomplished on the farm. They had discussed it with Charlotte and that she concurred and was supportive. William could hardly believe his ears. He thanked them for their support, and generosity. He said he would be pleased to accept their gift, and assured them he would make the most of the opportunity.
It was a good year on the farm
1887 was another good year on the McDonald farms
William was as good as his word, of course. He made over a portion of their barn to accommodate his new acquisition and prepare for the future. He scheduled regular visits with Levi to learn all he could to become the best Morgan horse owner and breeder that he could. Spending this time with Levi was very valuable to William; he soon realized he was also getting another perspective on life, not just learning about horses. William worked extra hard at the usual farm work and helping out with the cattle operations. He was especially attentive to Charlotte with her garden and the orchard that they continued to expand.
William’s new mare was named Blaze because of the distinctive blaze marking on her face. He liked the name because it was an active word, and she was full of life, in a good way. She was a good saddle horse and he loved to ride her into town and even around the countryside, on the few occasions he had time to do so. She would easily let Charlotte ride her, as well, which pleased William. Charlotte enjoyed riding although she didn’t do it very often. During the summer, they did go riding together, a few times, however, and enjoyed it a lot.
Daniel and Jane were very pleased with their decision to help their son, William, get involved in the raising and breeding of Morgan horses. They had considered it, themselves, from time to time, but had never found it a priority with what had seemed like continual changes in their own other major commitments of time and energy. They had taken on management and operation of a major cattle herd about the same time as Daniel’s involvement with the freight line had diminished. They had also taken on more farmland to look after without adding more workers. More recently, they had been involved in the addition of William and Charlotte’s land and working through the new relationships this family addition had created. Jane continued to monitor her brother’s holdings and operations as well as his nearby farmland. She was certain that within a couple of years, more of that land would come under their umbrella and they would have to consider how to make that work. Their three current farm hands were beginning to show their ages. Would they add another farm had, or take on a farm family as a tenant to meet the increased demands? William was not the only one going through a growth phase of his life. He parents were still facing some of these challenges as well.
Do you have turkey for the holidays?
The year-end holidays brought promise of good things to come
With another good harvest completed, William, Charlotte, and their nearby families, looked forward to the year-end holiday festivities to close out another good year, together. It was at about this time that Charlotte realized that she was again pregnant. This news brought great hope along with great fear, of course. Through firm determination, supported by both of their families, William and Charlotte maintained their positive outlook through the holidays and related activities. They participated, but were careful that she stayed well rested, was not overly stressed, and maintained as normal a routine as possible.
As the New Year’s Eve arrived, Charlotte had managed to maintain her pregnancy further than either of her two prior experiences. Hope rose, along with anxiety, that this would be ‘the one.’ Her mother was very helpful and encouraging. William was filled with positive encouragement, keeping hidden the reservations they each knew existed. Life had to go on, regardless of the results of this precious experience. What would the new year bring?
Note from Author
In recent episodes we have focused on William McDonald and Charlotte Crane, personally and individually, along with their families. These first 20 episodes, prior to the birth of Joseph in June of 1888, will be compiled into the first ebook in the “McDonald Tales” series. Some aspects of McDonald Tales episodes have been told in other short story collection such as, “American Centennial at the Homeplace: The Founding (1833-1876)” but here we are seeing the activity through the eyes of Jane, Daniel, William and Charlotte McDonald, along with new material and insights. The “Kings of Oak Springs” and Life in Oak Springs and more” series have made reference to some of the material here from a different point of view. In this series of stories we learn new behind-the-scene insights about this family. These Tales are a part of “The Homeplace Saga” series of stories.
The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” family saga, historical fiction stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”